PDA

View Full Version : Are there people who enjoy listening to Alvin and the Chipmunks for musical value?


EmilyG
03-26-2015, 01:07 PM
As I understand it, Alvin and the Chipmunks started out as novelty music. Are there people out there who enjoy listening to those songs because they like the sound of the music, and not just for the novelty value (because it sounds funny/amusing)?

(And yes, I am aware that this thread sounds like one of those "I don't understand how anyone can like something because I don't particularly like it" threads, but I was just wondering about that question.)

QuickSilver
03-26-2015, 01:16 PM
Very young children who either don't know any better or wish to exact revenge on their parents.

DooWahDiddy
03-26-2015, 01:40 PM
I was at an airport with a group of friends, and we were all waiting to get the luggage we checked at the gate, so it was very quiet while we all waited in that little area by the plane door. There was a woman waiting there as well, who otherwise looked completely normal, perhaps in her late 30s or early 40s, and she had headphones on, and they were turned up so loudly we could all hear what she was listening to.

She was gently bobbing her head and tapping her feet, occasionally closing her eyes and really getting into the music. As God is my witness, the sound coming out of her headphones was the Chipmunks singing "Ooh eee, ooh ahh ahh, ting tang, walla walla bing bang".

Many Shuvs and Zuuls knew what it was to be roasted in the depths of the Slor that day, I can tell you.

Biffy the Elephant Shrew
03-26-2015, 01:50 PM
As God is my witness, the sound coming out of her headphones was the Chipmunks singing "Ooh eee, ooh ahh ahh, ting tang, walla walla bing bang".

[pedant mode on]

Not actually the Chipmunks, but "David Seville (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Witch_Doctor_(song))" (Ross Bagdasarian), predating the first Chipmunks record. The practical difference is that there is just one sped-up voice, not three in harmony.

tim-n-va
03-26-2015, 10:58 PM
[pedant mode on]

Not actually the Chipmunks, but "David Seville (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Witch_Doctor_(song))" (Ross Bagdasarian), predating the first Chipmunks record. The practical difference is that there is just one sped-up voice, not three in harmony.

That link says Bagdasarian had a hit with it in 1958 and the Chipmunks covered it in 1960. The lady on the plane could have been listening to either version.

DooWahDiddy
03-26-2015, 11:40 PM
I mean, whatever. I remember it being the 3-part harmony version, but that might be my faulty memory. The point is she was jamming out to some high-pitched Chipmunk action, and didn't care one bit who knew it.

foolsguinea
03-27-2015, 12:33 AM
I think it's understandable in the case of that song. The common Chipmunks cover, maybe not.

RealityChuck
03-27-2015, 06:22 AM
Uh, David Seville was the Chipmunks. After the success of "Witch Doctor," he did the same thing with "The Christmas Song," singing all three parts (plus himself).

The songs are certainly nice pop tunes. Seville/Bogdasarian -- who also acted in Rear Window as the mucian -- already had a number 1 hit for "Come On-a My House" for Rosemary Clooney in 1951 (co-written by William Saryoan, Bogdasarian's cousin).

Kamino Neko
03-27-2015, 07:26 AM
Uh, David Seville was the Chipmunks.

Not really. Both David Seville and the Chipmunks were (originally) Ross Bagdasarian (sr), but it's completely valid to differentiate between the characters, especially since the versions of the song released as David Seville (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cmjrTcYMqBM) and the Chipmunks (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GfNRbIhGI5w) are noticeably different.

DrCube
03-27-2015, 10:42 AM
When I was 5 I had cassette tapes of "Chipmunks Sing With Children (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Chipmunks_Sing_with_Children)" and "Chipmunks Sing The Beatles (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Chipmunks_Sing_the_Beatles_Hits)". So they're a pretty foundational aspect of my musical journey. I may not have heard the Chipmunks before the Beatles, but they were my first exposure to most of the Beatles' early hits. And the "With Children" tape had a lot of "standards" I first heard sung by the Chipmunks, like "Rag Mop" and "Tonight You Belong To Me".

So I wouldn't say I enjoy their music in that I listen to it regularly, but I would be pretty pleased if I could find those tapes, just for the nostalgia factor. In fact, looking now I see they're on Wikipedia, so I might try and find copies on Amazon now!

kath94
03-27-2015, 11:10 AM
I reluctantly admit to having several Chipmunk albums. "Chipmunk Punk" is one, and the other covers country standards such as, "Mamas Don't Let Your Children Grow Up To Be Cowboys Chipmunks." There was a rash of Chipmunk albums around the same time. Many of their covers were the first time I heard some of the pop songs, including Billy Joel's "You May Be Right." :o

TriPolar
03-27-2015, 11:18 AM
I love listening to Witchdoctor. I'm not saying it's good music, but I enjoy it. I remember it from the debut of the TV show, apparently I still had the ability to retain music at that point in my life.

Just Asking Questions
03-27-2015, 11:26 AM
I unironically enjoy "The Christmas Song".


AAAAAL- VINNNN!


OH KAY!

Thudlow Boink
03-27-2015, 11:31 AM
I love listening to Witchdoctor. I'm not saying it's good music, but I enjoy it.Yeah, it's far from the worst pop song out there, in terms of musical value and enjoyability. From the thread title, I thought the OP was going to be asking about the Chipmunk albums like the ones kath94 mentions.

gaffa
03-27-2015, 11:46 AM
Many Shuvs and Zuuls knew what it was to be roasted in the depths of the Slor that day, I can tell you.
Five minutes after reading this, I'm still giggling!

oft wears hats
03-27-2015, 02:32 PM
Patton Oswalt has a ridiculously hilarious bit about how he used to listen to Chipmunks songs. I won't spoil it. Highly recommended.

randwill
03-27-2015, 03:16 PM
As a kid I figured out that if I played a Chipmunks 45 RPM at 33 1/3 I could approximately hear David Seville's real voice. Speaking of which...

Want to hear something really freaky? I mean REALLY freaky. Check out 45 RPM Dolly Parton at 33 1/3.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=doz1QJ7LwjA

Tangent
03-27-2015, 04:12 PM
Very young children who either don't know any better or wish to exact revenge on their parents.

When I was a young kid (~7 or 8 years old), I LOVED my Urban Chipmunk (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Urban_Chipmunk) record. I would listen to it over and over.

My parents must have hated me. :D

RealityChuck
03-27-2015, 06:44 PM
Not really. Both David Seville and the Chipmunks were (originally) Ross Bagdasarian (sr), but it's completely valid to differentiate between the characters, especially since the versions of the song released as David Seville (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cmjrTcYMqBM) and the Chipmunks (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GfNRbIhGI5w) are noticeably different.The point is that Bagdasarian sang all the parts. It's no different from Loudon Wainwright III doing two versions of "Black Uncle Remus." Or, for a more familiar example, Procol Harum's two versions of "Conquistador." Bogdasarian was doing his own composition, and sung all parts.

Biffy the Elephant Shrew
03-27-2015, 07:05 PM
The point is that Bagdasarian sang all the parts. It's no different from Loudon Wainwright III doing two versions of "Black Uncle Remus." Or, for a more familiar example, Procol Harum's two versions of "Conquistador." Bogdasarian was doing his own composition, and sung all parts.

No, it's more like saying that Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck are the same character because the same guy did both voices.

Yllaria
03-27-2015, 07:09 PM
. . . And the "With Children" tape had a lot of "standards" I first heard sung by the Chipmunks, like "Rag Mop" and "Tonight You Belong To Me". . . .

Blasphemy! Rag Mop is supposed to be sung by Cecil the Seasick Sea Serpent.

kunilou
03-27-2015, 07:39 PM
Blasphemy! Rag Mop is supposed to be sung by Cecil the Seasick Sea Serpent.

Double blasphemy! It's RAGG MOPP.

BigT
03-27-2015, 09:24 PM
Based on your definition, I guess I qualify. It's not my goto music or anything, but when I listen to the songs I listen to, it's never due to finding them amusing or funny. I like the tight, straight high harmonies, without any of them being backup singers. There are some female only groups in the '60s that have that type of sound, but seems rare elsewhere.

The closest you get are female barbershop, but they don't have background music to provide the bass.

Kamino Neko
03-28-2015, 09:08 AM
No, it's more like saying that Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck are the same character because the same guy did both voices.

What he said.

This can even happen in serious music.

My favourite musician, Tomoko Kawase, has 3 separate projects going on...the brilliant green (with her husband, Shunsaku Okuda), Tommy february6, and Tommy heavenly6. A handful of songs have been released under two of them.

The singer is always Tomoko Kawase, and with a handful of exceptions (mostly covers), the songs are always written by Tomoko and Shunsaku. Despite this, saying which project a particular song or album was released as is entirely meaningful. (And if it's a Halloween release.) It tells you what to expect for the song, even when it's not distinguishing between two different versions of the same song. There are also a number of songs done in two different versions under the same project, which should also be distinguished. Despite being written and performed by the same people under the same name, even.

Nobody (who isn't a little kid) thinks that David Seville and the Chipmunks aren't characters by Ross Bagdasarian. Just like nobody thinks that the brilliant green, Tommy february6 and Tommy heavenly6 are not all projects involving Tomoko Kawase and Shunsaku Okuda in various ways. That doesn't mean the different characters shouldn't be distinguished, especially when talking about songs released under multiple names.

Hermione
03-28-2015, 12:45 PM
I dunno--I listen to some of the Chipmunks' Christmas music every year. Partly for nostalgia value (in my first grade classroom, we played one of the Chipmunks' Christmas records when the season rolled around), partly for the comedy value (their version of "Twelve Days" is almost as funny as John Denver and the Muppets') and partly because the arrangements (and Dave Seville's voice) are very nice.

There are a couple of songs he carries on his own--particularly "Silver Bells", with the boys only coming in on the chorus. And the orchestration/arrangement for that one is especially nice. What do you think? (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ldbFNRMv1M)

He also does "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas" on his own, with no rodential involvement whatsoever. (Except for the beginning when he tells them, "Sit down by the fire and rest a minute, boys. I want to say something to you and everybody listening...")

Yllaria
04-02-2015, 09:59 AM
Double blasphemy! It's RAGG MOPP.

True.

Cayuga
04-04-2015, 12:53 PM
I was at an airport with a group of friends, and we were all waiting to get the luggage we checked at the gate, so it was very quiet while we all waited in that little area by the plane door. There was a woman waiting there as well, who otherwise looked completely normal, perhaps in her late 30s or early 40s, and she had headphones on, and they were turned up so loudly we could all hear what she was listening to.

She was gently bobbing her head and tapping her feet, occasionally closing her eyes and really getting into the music. As God is my witness, the sound coming out of her headphones was the Chipmunks singing "Ooh eee, ooh ahh ahh, ting tang, walla walla bing bang".

As others have said, it's a pretty decent novelty-ish song. It also probably appears on any number of 50s collections. The fact that she was listening to that song doesn't necessarily mean she was porting the entire Bagdasarian oeuvre.


Many Shuvs and Zuuls knew what it was to be roasted in the depths of the Slor that day, I can tell you.

Brilliant.

DooWahDiddy
04-05-2015, 09:44 PM
As others have said, it's a pretty decent novelty-ish song. It also probably appears on any number of 50s collections. The fact that she was listening to that song doesn't necessarily mean she was porting the entire Bagdasarian oeuvre.

Yes, but she wasn't just listening to it as if it had come up on Shuffle; she was rocking out to it. But yes, I do suppose it could have been worse; it could have been "Uptown Girl". ;)

Brilliant.
Five minutes after reading this, I'm still giggling!

Rick Moranis for the win! :)

TruCelt
04-06-2015, 11:58 AM
Double blasphemy! It's RAGG MOPP.

You kids get the heck off my lawn. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TyANRiqzfio) Come back when you you've gained some culture! :rolleyes:


In childhood through early adulthood I had a very high soprano voice, and excellent control of whistle tone. I liked singing along with the Chipmunks because they pitched the songs where I could participate. LOL!


Cecil, for comparison (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ISf_OJKYChY)

TruCelt
04-06-2015, 12:05 PM
Aargh!! First link should have gone here. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rqr-O5HyWL0)

Doc Sausage and his Mad Lads.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@straightdope.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Copyright 2018 STM Reader, LLC.